Sweet Surprises

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I bought a bunch of lilies at Sam’s the other day. They’re one of the cheapest thrills I know — $8.85 for ten stems is a price tag that I cannot ignore. Each time I am passing by the flower counter I stop, stand in contemplation and scrutinizing, making sure they’re strong and resilient where the heads attach to the stems. Then, upon deciding, I gather up the meant-to-be bundle of promising greenish buds. A lily (the right kind) can scent an entire room with a solitary blossom. It can stand on its own, no fluff of extra greenery necessary (although here they’re shown with fresh fern leaves), and when just a few of them begin to open in a vase together, their petals unfurl and their ruffled edges flirt with the onlooker like sweet little lasses in Sunday School dresses. When cared for properly, stems gently clipped and re-watered, they have been known to last (in my house at least) for upwards of two weeks. Tell me friends, what would keep us all from going straightaway to purchase that sort of long-lasting, heaven-scented luxury for eight dollars and some change? Tell me.

So I usually opt for the white Casablanca lilies. They are pure as I can imagine the beginning of this old world was. The white seems whiter than normal, and the scent is heady and nearly indescribable. Only God in his perfect design could dream up this scent. Come to think of it, there is nothing I can compare it to. That’s saying something. The more gaudy, magenta-speckled Stargazer lilies are a bit sweeter-smelling, although lovely in their own right. So when I chose this particular bunch, I looked for the absence of any color in the just-opening pods. Boy, I think I’m so smart. The surprise, here, came when the green and white petals began to gradually peel away from each other, turn themselves inside out, and reveal the dearest blush of pink and fresh centers of pale, lemony yellow.

I have been struck lately by such little sweet surprises. God, again in his perfect design, knows that he must speak to me in definite themes. So this is just one more gentle tug at my heart where he is calling me to notice the little stuff — needed kindnesses, good words, tomatoes from the vine still tasting of the sun, earnest touches, winks, generous friends, truly good and inspired music, the early morning’s warmth on my skin, real, deep, tear-inducing laughter. All of these things are vessels of love. It is carried so artfully to me. The stuff that I need but can’t see, it comes to me wearing the skin of sunset-colored lilies’ petals.


5 Comments

  1. Josh

    Sometimes i envy the way some people can find so much significance in things like unexpected color in a bunch of lilies. That’s why i’m thankful for people like you Evie. Without yall i’d probably miss out on a lot of the more subtle goodness this world has to offer.

  2. Tony Heringer

    My daughter has a love for ballet and other types of dance. When I attend one of her recitals I’m apt to look for roses, but usually colors other than red. I’m unsure at times whether they are real or played with by the florist, but there is great joy in selecting these bouquets. I do the same for my wife — though not often and random enough. I say random because there is great pleasure in recieving unexpected gifts of this kind. The “just because…” kind of gift.

    Lillies will make it into the mix too! I love them for the reasons you’ve described — their fragrance, beauty and strength. So, much so I’ve thought this too was some florist trick.

    This ties in quite well with Eric’s post referencing the Sermon On the Mount. So, I’ll end with another favorite line from that section of Jesus message:

    “See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”

    P.S. Now, what about Ol’ Black? Did she survive? You can’t leave us hanging on that one. 🙂

  3. Profile photo of Pete Peterson

    Pete Peterson

    @pete

    I think it’s awesome that the same person can write so well about changing an engine and buying flowers and make them both sound like fun. (not to imply that they aren’t…)

  4. Profile photo of Curt McLey

    Curt McLey

    @curtmcley

    How did I miss this post? I just found it this morning. Themes. Evie, you have noted that theme thing in several of your posts. I routinely notice themes God places in my path, usually from a variety of senses and media. In fact, I look for them, expectantly. God constructs these real life custom collages for us and it’s joyful (and sometimes painful) to find them. Often, it’s profoundly moving. Speaking of … as I read your post and type my response, the bonus instrumental tracks from Ben Shive’s wonderful record are my background accompaniment.

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